The politics of loving
Danilo Araña Arao
Philippine Daily Inquirer (Youngblood), 14 February 1995, p. 9
LOVE cuts across all classes and races, and even activists cannot escape it, no matter how hard they try.
In line with this, I remember a true story written by Quijano de Manila and included in his book "Reportage on Lovers" about two Kabataang Makabayan members falling in love, and fulfilling a vow to watch each other's back as they pursue revolutionary ends. This love affair had a tragic twist for the man, since his beloved turned out to be a military agent who had him arrested. The moral of the story: Activists who fall in love must carefully investigate their partner's class background, which the man in the story surprisingly failed to do.
Indeed, progressives tend to believe that love cannot exist between two people coming from different social classes, for the simple reason that the prevailing class conflict would definitely go against them.
Of course, there is a way out for an impoverished person to end up with a rich loved one: The former should try to convince the latter to give up material wealth in favor of taking the side of the "lower" class. Theoretically, there is not much problem in case the couple comes from the same social class, since they are aware of each other's situation and would most likely be motivated to change society for the better --- if not for themselves, for the sake of their children.
Most progressive groups adhere to this concept of class love, and frown upon the elite's practice of sex love. The latter refers to love in its commercialized form, highlighted by material and sexual rewards. Contrary to popular notion that activists are promiscuous and are likely to be exposed to orgies during educational discussions or late-night meetings, they actually have the strictest policies prohibiting lovers from engaging in sex until after they are married.
Anyway, sex love prevails in our society today, as seen in promises of World Youth Day delegates to stay "clean and pure" until they walk down the aisle. It is also manifested by the Catholic Church's hardline stance against the use of artificial methods of birth control, since these may encourage promiscuity among today's youth.
The traditional celebration of Valentine's Day around the world also has vestiges of sex love, given the de facto obligation between lovers to give each other a valuable gift (the more expensive, the better). As confirmed by most World Youth Day delegates, there is also strong peer pressure to engage in sexual activities without being fully aware of birth control methods or even the grave implications of such acts (e.g., unwanted pregnancies).
Simply put, sex has become a commodity to be consumed mainly for pleasure. In the final analysis, this has also become a major cause of the degradation of women's status in society.
I guess all these are enough reasons to believe class love is better than sex love. After all, we can find relevance through the former and consequently remove the commercialism associated with loving. Suffice it to say that only through class love can we relate the feeling of care and being wanted with the prevailing societal conditions. In the process, we can ensure that our partners will work with us in the struggle for social emancipation.
With the passage of time, the love that exists between two people would be the key toward understanding the imperative for social action, which can go as far as revolution. If and when they reach this level of ideological development, it is likely that their marriage would be officiated by neither a fiscal nor a priest, and that their exchange of vows would take place in an area unknown to the "enemy."
Yes, time will come when misunderstandings will arise from the relationship, which are quite normal for lovers. But those engaged in class love know how to transcend petty squabbles given their deeper understanding of each other.
They possess the kind of love that does not diminish, but actually grows with the passage of time. After all, love for progressives is like the revolution. It is a protracted struggle where lovers fight not only for themselves, but for the nation's future.
At this point, I consider myself lucky, because...
Danny Arao, 26, teaches Political Science at De La Salle University.